PARIS (Reuters) - Europe's largest listed car part makers Valeo posted lower second-quarter net profit on Thursday due to smaller one-off gains, but lifted operating profit amid a nascent revival in the European auto market.
The maker of clutches and windshield wipers said net profit totaled 46 million euros ($56.41 million) compared with 80 million a year ago, when it pocketed a one-off tax rebate.
Operating profit, also helped by cost cuts, was 140 million euros in the quarter compared with 132 million euros in the year-ago quarter. Sales were 2.513 billion euros.
Ten analysts polled by Reuters forecast on average second-quarter net profit of 44 million euros, operating income of 138 million and sales of 2.348 billion euros.
Valeo, which is winding up a sweeping cost-cutting plan that restored profits, does not expect a real upturn in turnover until the end of this year, when a raft of big orders and targeted acquisitions will start boosting its top line.
Chairman Thierry Morin has declined to give firm forecasts for 2004, saying only it aims to keep improving profitability in the medium term from last year's 5 percent margin.
Suppliers like Valeo have suffered in recent years as automakers battling sluggish markets and cut-throat competition in western Europe and the United States try to save cash by paying less for parts.